Qatar Airways boss predicts increase in leisure and business travel

Qatar Airways vice president for Africa Hendrik du Preez said leisure and business travel would accelerate as travel restrictions eased.

According to him, Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on airlines and their customers, necessitating the willingness of the traveling public to visit new places and travel again.

He said: “We expect both leisure and business travel to accelerate as travel restrictions relax and vaccination rates rise.

“A lot of people are very keen to travel again, to visit new places, to visit family and friends, to do business. We look forward to welcoming them.

Preez, in an interview with our correspondent, noted that connectivity is key to air travel.

“It has been difficult, but we have never stopped being optimistic about aviation in Africa, which is a crucial market for us,” he said.

Responding to the aviation industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic leading to border closures, he said: “We have adapted by being nimble and efficient.

“Naturally, we have been affected by the border closures, but even in the worst of the pandemic, we have never stopped flying to at least 30 destinations.

“Qatar Airways is the largest airline to have operated scheduled flights throughout the pandemic. We carried out repatriation flights and transported PPE supplies, and accelerated our program as soon as it was viable.

“We now operate to more than 140 destinations around the world. At the worst of the pandemic, we have constantly assessed demand and researched opportunities, and have even launched new destinations in Africa over the past nine months, including most recently Harare in Zimbabwe, Lusaka in Zambia, Luanda in Angola and Abuja. in Nigeria.

“We intend to continue to expand our routes and schedules and are constantly seeking partnerships with other airlines to improve the travel experience for our customers.”

According to the boss of Qatar, the airline gives priority to the safety, security and good health of air passengers and staff.

He said: “We are picky about security measures and we will not compromise on them. We also continue to ensure that we lead the way in safety and health measures, with new procedures in place throughout our customers’ journey, from check-in to arrival. This year, we received SkyTrax 5 Star COVID-19 Aviation Safety Rating.

“In addition to this, Qatar Airways was the first global carrier to operate version 2.0 of Honeywell’s ultraviolet cabin system, further advancing its onboard hygiene measures. “

Disclosing the airline’s potential expansion into other African countries, he said it would look at a number of factors including the potential for growth, the carrier’s operation on a particular route, the popularity of the route , bilateral agreements with the government of a potential destination and the availability of landing slots.

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